Posted by: christopherfeld | April 6, 2011

Personal development tools

Education is an ongoing process. Advanced degrees help to provide students with the discipline necessary to learn a great deal of subject-specific expertise. Yet, not all of us have the time, money, or proclivity to go through the punishment and rigor of gaining an advanced degree. Nonetheless, there are still some handy ways at gaining the discipline and subject-area expertise one desires.

This post will discuss one handy option that promotes ongoing personal development. Using this tool, one ought to have the framework necessary to strive towards their personal development goals. This framework is inspired by Dr. Troy Nielson’s Individual Development Plan and class lectures, 2011.

Create a Personal Development Framework

One’s personal development plan may contain the following features: mission, development areas, goals, and action steps. Each will be discussed below.


The mission statement is the purpose behind the development effort. This mission statement should contribute to one’s overall life purpose/mission. Having this statement will help to keep one on track as they go through the process.

Development Areas

Development areas are broad areas that one wants to focus on for their development efforts. For instance, one may want to work on improving their physical health. Thus, this would be the specific area. It is most helpful to stick to one to two development areas as choosing too many development areas may result in too much work at once and the effort mail fail.


Goal setting is a critical mechanism towards developing in one’s intended areas. Goals out to be SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time based). Develop one to two goals as to not overburden oneself.

Action Steps

Action steps are the specific methods that will be used to achieve one’s goals. Think about available resources such as materials or individuals that may help one reach one’s goals. Furthermore, a consulting with a mentor can be a great way to stay on track and mine invaluable information.

Use It Frequently

The above mentioned framework provides a systematic tool to help one stay on track towards achieving one’s goals. While one development project or two will help towards shorter-term goals, one must have a growth mindset towards development. Use this framework frequently to help get towards one’s life mission. Also, revisit the life mission and be sure one is on track. Revise as necessary.


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